Following is an excerpt from our new book, Poetry at Work. Why publish such a book? Because we want to give people a new way of understanding their work, help them find meaning in it, and provide practical tools for altering work cultures and their own approaches to everything from the business meeting to the business crisis.
Introduction, from Glynn Young’s book Poetry at Work
In a meeting, I discover poetry at work.
It’s a weekly meeting. Same time, same people, and almost always the same agenda. We meet because meetings are mandatory to make a cross-functional network breathe. It can be mind-numbing, hearing the same weekly voices making the same weekly points, but the sameness and even the mild boredom offer the sense—or illusion—of a safe, predictable, and comfortable work environment.
Unexpectedly, I hear a submerged conversation. The same ideas, statement, voices and goals are converging to form an almost musical repetition.
Trying not to look too alarmed, I continue to listen to this music as I watch the musicians—meeting attendees—play each part. I’m discovering an underlying structure to this meeting, this music composition.
I listen; I watch. Facial expressions, tone of voice, hand gestures, body language—they’ve all converged, orchestrated as poetry, rising from the citizens of a corporate subculture.
Then I realize something else.
Poetry has always been at work.
As I hear these sounds and rhythms and repetitions, I realize that poetry shows up not only in a weekly meeting but in many other areas of work—poetry is so embedded in the presentations we make, the spaces in which we work, and the successes and failures and challenges of work, it can’t be separated from them. When we work, we express and create poetry.
I settle back in my chair, stunned that poetry has been here all along, in every job I’ve ever had. All I have to do is look for it.
Poetry at Work, by Glynn Young, foreword by Scott Edward Anderson
“This book is elemental.”